Junette Reyes/Staff Writer
The University should alter the tobacco-free regulation on all campuses to confine smokers to certain smoking zones instead of banning smoking altogether.
We are a smoke-free university without an official punishment for those caught defying the tobacco-free ruling made effective on Jan. 1, 2011.
As stated in Miriam Arias’ article for FIU Student Media, published on Oct. 25, “…if found violating the tobacco-free regulation, students are generally asked to refrain from doing so again,” until an actual punishment is decided upon.
While lacking an official punishment only encourages smokers to continue their habit, administering one for smoking is harsh and somewhat absurd.
I do agree, however, that non-smokers on all campuses should not be jeopardized by the actions of smokers, which leads me to suggest the usage of smoking zones as an alternative to the banishment of smoking.
The initiative “to ensure a healthier environment in the University,” although theoretically good, is flawed, especially in the idea that this regulation can also serve as a way to help smokers quit their addiction.
The University has taken smokers into consideration by offering several services to assist those affected.
While helping smokers stop their addiction is ideal as a result of this regulation, it is unrealistic as well as intrusive to assume smokers on campus will want to change their habits because it is a possible outcome.
Smokers are not ignorant to the dangers of their habit, and if they did not have any intention of quitting before the regulation, it is unlikely they would quit once the regulation was made effective.
Of course, the regulation would make it difficult for them to smoke during their time on campus, but the lack of an official punishment still leaves an opportunity open for them.
Still, the idea of a penalty for smoking seems ridiculous. If it is a slight punishment, then it can be ignored by smokers; if it is a severe punishment, then it is too much of an outrageous punishment for such a petty crime.
I think the level of smoking can be reasonably regulated with the compromise of allowing students, faculty and staff to smoke on campus, but only within certain smoking zones.
Non-smokers’ right to breathe well will not be violated, nor will smokers’ right to continue their habit be violated.
It is ideal to help smokers with their addiction, but only they can realize the harm their habit presents and change their ways. Enforcing a rule and punishing them for violating it is not the way to go about it.